Hurricane Ian Swift Intervention
Hurricane Ian is the latest example of how our disaster relief program works from response to recovery, covering the full continuum of volunteerism – from response to recovery. We are still onsite helping the people of Pine Island who were severely impacted by the storm.
Additionally, the day after the hurricane hit, we organized and ran two S.A.F.E. Camps, putting volunteers in place for an organized distribution of services and in-kind donations to those who needed it most immediately after the storm. In the first 18 days:
- 18,000 cars were provided in-kind donations of critical supplies through our drive-up carlines
- $10 million+ in-kind donations distributed
- 8,000 hot meals served
- 1590 volunteers recruited and given meaningful work
- 350 wellness checks and medical visits to our tent
- 30 homes mucked out and tarped
About four weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall, we shifted operations to meet the community’s emerging needs. We were embedded in a small migrant community on Pine Island, a barrier island just off the coast near Cape Coral, Florida, which is where Hurricane Ian made landfall. The devastation there is immense – entire homes, businesses and agricultural lands were destroyed by this storm.
Community Caretaking in Progress
This turned into a long-term operation, where we have continued our mission with Community Caretaking. We went into the community with teams of volunteers to muck out homes and tarp roofs and remove trees and debris for those who can’t do it themselves. We had a fully functioning medical tent with volunteer rotating RNs, physicians, and social workers caring for people’s healthcare needs. (There is so much contamination in the soil and water that a tiny scratch can become fatal.)
These are people who have lost their livelihoods and transportation to work due to the storm. They are elderly people on fixed incomes who never expected to have to rebuild and can’t do it alone. They are families who didn’t have adequate safety nets such as savings and insurance to recover without community support. Without us, they would go without food and live in unsafe conditions, ultimately becoming the newly homeless in a region that is already overwhelmed with recovery challenges.
How You Can Help
Our goal is to stay long-term in communities affected by Hurricane Ian and restore stability to people’s lives. To do so, we need significant funding to continue our mission. We are truly bringing so much value in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, and our work isn’t finished. We continue to check on the most vulnerable of this disaster. We don’t want to leave them without a connection for assistance.
These photos capture Cajun Navy Ground Force’s disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Ian. They are heartbreaking images of the widespread destruction mingled with breathtaking accounts of our volunteers in action – restoring stability in the midst of chaos.